Franklin County factors in broadband with new business park


FRANKLIN Co., Va. (WDBJ7) Franklin County is in the midst of a multi-million dollar business park project, and at the same time, they are also trying to figure out how to improve broadband Internet access.

Franklin County Factors In Broadband With New Business Park

This is a once in a career type project for Michael Burnette. He showed WDBJ7 around what will be the Summit Peak Business Park.

“It’s a fantastic project,” he said. “We’re doing something here that’s just very different.”

These 550 acres of land will go from farmland to business. Hopefully adding three million square feet of buildings and adding 10 to 15 businesses. The rural aspect is a plus for recruitment.

“It is,” said Burnette. “It’s just a mix of the quality of life that you can get here.”

Steve Thomas, Franklin County IT Director, said, “The very thing that makes Franklin County attractive to people that come here is what makes it very difficult to get broadband.”

Steve Thomas has been working closely with the county’s efforts to expand high-speed internet access.

“Broadband has changed everyone’s life,” he said. In a recent county survey, one in three business owner say they’re not quite satisfied with the Internet they currently have.

However, that won’t be a problem at the new business park because it’s so close to Route 220 and existing broadband lines.

“We’re already planning and talking to providers to provide gigabit access,” said Thomas. Burnette said, “So that allows us access to a superhighway of fiber that can rival anything in Northern Virginia.”

Location played a big role in this development. Now, the work is on to get the rest of the county caught up.

“Everything is revolving around broadband,” said Thomas.

The county plans to grate and build roads in the park beginning this September.

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